The 1960 Washington Senators closed out their existence in D.C., and moved to the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Minneapolis and St. Paul would welcome the Twins and the team would play their games equal distance from both cities, on the prairie by the major airport in Bloomington, MN.
(Above): The original grading of Metropolitan Stadium, circa 1955. – Note, yes, this is where the Mall of America stands today (Below).
A view of the Mall of America, from the same angle/direction, as the grading picture of the Metropolitan Stadium construction above.
Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington had opened as the home to the Minneapolis Millers from 1956 to 1960, but the town and the state yearned for their first attempt at big league baseball.
Millers manager, Eddie Stanky, argues to no avail vs the Wichita Braves, with a packed house at Metropolitan Stadium in the later 1950’s.
Calvin Griffith, looking for new means of better revenue streams, focused his efforts on moving his Senators club out of Washington, D.C. Calvin realized his wish when the American League OK’d the move of the Senators to the Twin Cities, and granting Washington D.C. a new expansion franchise, along with the Los Angeles Angels.
Some silent footage from the Twins first “Spring Training” in Orlando, FL:
Some of the Twins players you see: Jim Lemon in street clothes talking to Bob Allison in uniform and Earl Battey on the left in uniform; #17 Camilo Pascual; #3 Harmon Killebrew; #2 Zoilo Versalles; #18 Paul Giel; Mgr. Cookie Lavagetto (kneeling by post); #21 Ray Moore; At end of video, sitting in street clothes, Chuck Stobbs and Jim Lemon.
I have played APBA Baseball since 1978, and I have always had the desire to replay every Minnesota Twins season, using APBA. I had attempted solo-team replays before, but never using the actual as-played lineups for a solo-team replay. Today, with the advantages of the historical online boxscores, and with APBA Game Co. printing every card for a player that appeared in a given season, it is the right time if you are into as-played actual lineup replays.
Hopefully within this blog post, I will capture the excitement and fun of reliving this first Minnesota Twins season, one month at a time. This 1961 Twins team is nothing special, especially if you are not a Twins fan. However, it is the first season that MLB was played in Minnesota. And Harmon Killebrew made his lasting impression in that inaugural 1961 season blasting 46 homeruns while driving in 122 runs.
For a closer look at each player, their 1961 Topps cards (note the last few cards in the rotation are players who were traded to the Twins during the ’61 season):
I am using the APBA Basic Game, using the 2013 version of the Basic Game booklet. I am also using BallStat and BallScore to track my stats. I enter each game into BallScore after I complete a game, scoring the old fashioned way, on paper. The 1961 APBA Baseball Season set I am using was the last printing of the Basic Game cards, and included every player who played that season, printed in 2013. I am using all advanced rules, along with the Error Distribution Card and Unusual Play Card from the old APBA Journal.
The 1961 Twins opened the season with former Brooklyn Dodger, Harry “Cookie” Lavagetto as their skipper. However, he would only last until June 15th, with Sam Mele taking over as manager on June 16th. The Twins with Lavagetto had endured a 13 game losing streak, and about a week later, Lavagetto not only was the first Twins manager, but also the first Twins manager to be fired.
Call it the Sports Illustrated “jynx”, with the SI cover date of May 15th, Mgr. Cookie Lavagetto, in the next 31 Twins games after May 15th, would go 7-24 and lose his job after a win on June 15th.
With APBA Baseball and 1961 at my fingertips, I am magically on the top step of the Twins home dugout, calling the shots …
Home dugout, Metropolitan Stadium, during construction, circa 1956.
I will breakdown each month of the replay, starting with April. Future blog posts will be for each subsequent month.
(click on game scores below for either the REPLAY boxscore or the ACTUAL boxscore)
Season Opening Series: Twins at Yankees, April 11
TWINS RECORD: Replay (0-1) – Actual (1-0)
Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio take in the 1961 Yankee opener.
Series #2: Twins at Orioles, April 14, 15, 16 (2)
TWINS RECORD: Replay (3-2) – Actual (4-1)
Harmon Killebrew is helped off the field after injuring his hamstring in just the 3rd game of the season. Killebrew does not return to the Twins lineup until April 29th.
Series #3: Twins at Red Sox, April 18
TWINS RECORD: Replay (3-3) – Actual (5-1)
Series #4: Senators at Twins, April 21, 22, 23
TWINS RECORD: Replay (5-4) – Actual (7-2)
The Met Stadium scoreboard into the 9th inning of the Twins first ever Home Opener.
Series #5: Twins at Athletics, April 24, 25
TWINS RECORD: Replay (5-6) – Actual (8-3)
The A’s Lou klimchock goes 2 for 5 with a HR and 4 RBI in 10-9 Athletic win over Twins.
Series #6: Twins at Angels, April 27, 28, 29
TWINS RECORD: Replay (6-8) – Actual (9-5)
Angel hurler, Ken McBride, pitches a CG win over the Twins, winning 9-2, while striking out 10.
Series #7: White Sox at Twins, April 30, May 1
TWINS APRIL RECORD: Replay (6-9) – Actual (9-6)
White Sox catcher, Cam Carreon goes 3 for 4, with a HR and 2 RBI in 4-2 win over Twins.
April ends with the loss to the White Sox.
Note: A quick run comparison for April has the Twins scoring 63 runs (vs 62 actual) and allowing 67 (vs 73 actual).
As I complete this post, the replay is well into May. I plan to post May results in a few weeks.
Metropolitan Stadium, circa 1961.
April’s replay high-lights and low-lights included:
- The first ever game for the Twins. Yankee Stadium on April 11th, 1961. Whitey Ford and the Yankees proved to be too much for Pedro Ramos and the Twins, as Mickey Mantle clouts a HR with the Yankees putting up 5 runs in the later innings. New York prevails 7-5.
- April 15th, after losing their first 2 games of the young season, the Twins won their first game in franchise history on a 1-hitter, CG shut-out by Chuck Stobbs (DZ), over the Baltimore Orioles. The 1 Orioles hit was a Gus Triandos single in the 2nd inning.
- April 16th, 1st game of a double-header, the Twins, with Pedro Ramos (CYZ) on the hill, pitch their 2nd CG, 1-hit, shut-out, back-to-back. The 1 Orioles hit came as a 2-out, bottom of the 7th double by Jim Gentile.
- April 21st, vs the expansion Washington Senators, the Twins win their first ever home game, 2-1. Pinch-hitter, Dan Dobbek. singles home the winning run in the bottom of the 9th with 1 out.
- April 24th and 25th making their first trip to Municipal Stadium in Kansas City, the Twins see 2 late inning leads turn into 2 heart-breaking losses. Game 10 of the season, the Twins had just taken a 5-3 lead in the top of the 10th, but KC ties the game with 2 in the bottom of the 10th. In the bottom of the 11th, KC wins the game in walk-off fashion, a 1-out run-scoring PH single by Lou Klimchock. Game 11 of the season, has the Twins sporting a 9-6 lead heading into the bottom of the 9th. Lou Klimchock ties the game with a 3-run blast off of Twins closer, Ray Moore. With 1 out, the A’s get 2 more base runners and Bill Tuttle hits into a game-winning fielder’s choice when the Twins fail to turn the DP.
1961 Minnesota Twins Uniform